PLAYA VISTA, Calif. - As Mike D'Antoni puts more focus on involving Eddy Curry in his revamped offense, the Knicks might be without the rejuvenated center for tonight's game against the Lakers. Curry's flagrant foul on Rajon Rondo in the fourth quarter of Sunday's overtime loss to the Celtics is under review by the NBA, according to a league spokesman. If Stu Jackson finds Curry's shove, which sent Rondo to the floor, to be egregious enough, Curry could be suspended for one game.
"I'm not expecting it, but I hope not," Curry said after the Knicks practiced here Mondayat the Clippers Training Center.
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Curry said the shove, which did not injure Rondo, was out of frustration, "nothing against him at all. I actually like him as a player. It was just me, acting out, a bonehead play."
The show of emotion, however, is somewhat of an encouraging sign from Curry, who rarely showed any intensity on the court before this season. But in three games, Curry already has shown some fire, from the hit on Rondo to going face-to-face with the Pacers' Solomon Jones after the two became tangled up in the post in last Wednesday's game.
Consider this another step in the transformation of Curry. "I think that comes from getting older and watching it from the sidelines," he said. Curry added that although he "didn't show" emotion in the past, "I definitely had it. I never in my career have been this rah-rah kind of player, somebody who gets in someone's face. I pretty much just kind of fly under the radar and kind of play my position. I'm just trying to change it a little."
D'Antoni, who is just getting to know Curry, said the intensity shouldn't "spill over into a flagrant foul," but what has impressed him more than what he's seen on the court is how Curry has behaved on the bench. Said D'Antoni, "He's up, cheering; that's really good to see."
Kobe encore? The Knicks will face Kobe Bryant Tuesday night at the Staples Center for the first time since his record-breaking 61-point performance at the Garden on Feb. 2. D'Antoni said Larry Hughes will draw the defensive assignment, but he scoffed at the notion that some teams have a Kobe-stopper.
"You don't have a stopper for Kobe," D'Antoni said. "When Kobe doesn't score, that means he's off that night, which makes him human."